from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Monday, 19 December 2016

Lost Species poem 7: Simon Stanley

There is so much to say about that iconic species the brown hare, once so plentiful in England. In Devon, there are so few (and in the Westcountry there are various hamlets called 'Harepie', which might partly explain their absence), although I live in a tiny pocket of them. Hare coursing, though illegal, is still widely practised. I didn't know what a temper I had until I found myself bellowing at a much greater volume than I thought I was capable of at a little band of hunters on foot with hounds chasing one of our local 2 or 3 in the neighbouring field. It worked, luckily.

This beautiful poem captures something of the hare's magic and its supposed madness and dancing.


I am blue sky-dome is the cup of my eye,
     vast, limpid, rain-drop clear.
           As lightning sight strikes through my nerve to muscle.

My coat is shaking grass and herbs of six fields I am.
     Your steps shift in the shimmering of me,
          like spring moving in the trees.

I am lode of clover in the low air, buttercup’s bittersweet my nose.
     Air carries you to me, you linger everywhere,
           push through the hay and ragwort, your rank peculiar: worst.

For my ears leaves of chestnut, green or rust, rustle in me,
     opening to the sky clock, tracking everything.
          Wind my language, you speak it in me as you talk.

I am cow parsley in spring is the long note on my tongue.
     You season land with the man-shit you alone make,
           miss the taste of dew fall, of stars passing.

Dog my fear, my laughing dread, bursts like well-water in my throat,
     speed my joy, fleet as flood my feet
          in the frantic course; I am flight from shot and teeth.

Moon my muse, sails through me in her silvers
     trailing wraps of cloud. The stars my motley coat.
           I dance to thrill heaven, I to beat the bounds of my earthen feet.

© Simon Stanley

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. I love hares and wish we had them where I live in Sussex
    (maybe we do but I've never seen one). I have a beautiful sculpture of a hare but it wasn't until we got it home (we bought it on holiday) that I realised it had no eyes. So I stop and have a chat with it sometimes so it knows what's going on around it. Oh dear ...


Blog Archive